Wheelchair-bound flyer slams airline for losing special cushion: ‘Indigo left me disabled in truest sense’


DECEMBER 9, 2023

A wheelchair-bound woman claimed that Indigo Airline forgot that she was on the flight and made her wait for 40 minutes to deplane. Virali Modi shared her disappointment in a lengthy post on X that has gone viral online.

Modi, who is a disability activist, mentioned that she has been paralyzed from the waist down since 2006 and uses a wheelchair for mobility. On a flight from Delhi to Mumbai on Tuesday, the cabin crew forgot about her until a member from the cleaning staff spotted her and they rushed to bring an aisle wheelchair for her.

“I had to wait a total for 40 minutes to deplane after everyone else had exited the flight. I couldn’t alert the cabin crew because the call button was out of reach, like on all of their flights. I had even informed that I wanted my wheelchair at the gate and they failed to mention that as well,” she wrote.

Modi also slammed the airline for forgetting to get her personal wheelchair at the baggage claim. She even claimed that a helper kept removing her wheelchair’s cushion which was specifically designed for her spine. The cushion was nowhere to be found when she got home.

“I had to wait another 30 minutes for my personal wheelchair because no one had bothered to bring it up from the aircraft. Moving forward, I reached my car and the helper kept removing my personal wheelchair’s cushion. I kept telling him that it was mine but he didn’t listen. When I arrived home, that’s when I realised that my cushion was nowhere to be found. That cushion is specifically made for me and my spine for the utmost comfort since I use a wheelchair full time.”

The woman further called out Indigo’s customer care for keeping her on hold for 55 minutes and only asking to send her an e-mail for resolution. “No one was apologetic about my ordeal nor did they want to find a resolution. Right now, I am left stranded on my bed with my independency stolen by Indigo and their carelessness. I cannot sit on my wheelchair without my cushion. Even though I have a disability, Indigo has left me disabled in the truest sense,” she wrote, adding, “What am I supposed to do in this situation? My husband even visited the Indigo counter this morning and they are taking the whole ordeal lightly. They gave the number of the airport and instructed to ask for CCTV footage. On doing that, they want me to file an FIR now.”

Indigo Airlines does NOT care about their passengers with disabilities. I’ve been paralysed from the waist down since 2006 and I use a wheelchair for mobility. I flew from Delhi to Mumbai on 5th December, 2023 on flight number 6E-864. After everyone deplaned, the cabin crew…

— Virali Modi (@Virali01) December 6, 2023

“First, you steal my dignity, then you steal my independence, and now you’re stealing my peace of mind. Indigo Airlines, shame on you! You’re money hungry! Everyone knows the first row is the most comfortable for wheelchair users and/or people with actual physical problems. Instead of accommodating to our needs, you’d rather sell those seats to make a profit. Whenever I’m boarding, I’m always made to sit in the aisle. Since I cannot walk or even stand, my co-passengers have to crawl over me. Often times their asses or their crotches are in my face,” she further wrote.

In a separate tweet, Modi talked more about her personal cushion that was taken away at the airport. She mentioned that it was custom-made to prevent her from getting sores or a bad back. “The irony is that it was International Day of Persons with Disabilities on the 3rd and everyone preaches of inclusivity. This is how inclusive we are. Disability has ALWAYS been an afterthought and Indigo proved it. Stop the damn hypocrisy and walk the talk,” the woman wrote.

Losing a cushion is not like losing a shoe or a piece of clothing which are readily available in malls and high-street stores to be bought. I have to get it custom-made, to ensure that while I’m sitting for 14-15 hours at a stretch on my wheelchair, I do not get sores or get a…

— Virali Modi (@Virali01) December 6, 2023

The post swiftly gained traction online and social media users collectively expressed their anger in the comments section.

“Shameful and shameless,” a user wrote. Another user commented, “Dear Virali, sorry to hear about this. This is not first time I’m seeing this issue. Many people with disabilities including their parents were complained to the indigo staff many times. Till now they have not improved their service. It’s really disappointing.”

“I hope you seek legal action and a hefty compensation. I know it’s easier said than done, but they need to be taught a lesson. Shame on you @IndiGo6E,” a third user remarked.

Providing an update to the situation, Modi said that she was finally in touch with IndiGo and they were making a customisable cushion according to the specifications of her wheelchair.

UPDATE: I’m in touch with Indigo. They’re specifically making a customisable cushion according to the specifications of my wheelchair and they’ll be delivering it either tonight or tomorrow.

— Virali Modi (@Virali01) December 6, 2023

Meanwhile, in October, Modi also expressed her dismay after she had to be “carried up two flights of stairs to get married” at the Registrar’s Office in Mumbai.

“I am disabled and I got married at the Registrars Office at Khar Mumbai on 16/10/23. The office was on the 2nd floor without a lift. They wouldn’t come downstairs for the signatures and I had to be carried up two flights of stairs to get married,” the woman wrote.

“”I am disheartened that my country’s government and citizens cannot accommodate to my disability. My faith in humanity has been destroyed by this ordeal. I am not a piece of luggage that needs to be carried up two floors. I am a human being and my rights matter,” she added.

Courtesy: Moneycontrol